What is a CRM?
The acronym stands for Customer Relationship Management and it is a system for managing future and current customer relationships. These days most business people look to automate what would have been a bulging filing cabinet (or even room) full of leads, client files and a considerable amount of dust.
A modern CRM is an on-line system so you and your team can see exactly what is going between your business and your potential and existing customers.
The system can, and should, be used for relationship management and a consistent approach to sales targets. With most systems you can add in opportunites and create a sales pipeline showing the various stages of the sales process with your customers. Many systems allow you to track issues that may arise, for example complaints, so they can be managed in a timely manner.
The first thing you create within your CRM is a contact list. This can be imported en masse, for example with a CSV file, or from your emailer and standard systems such as Outlook and Gmail.
The features you are likely to use most often are tags or groups, that will define your contact by a category specific to your business. It could be that you a targeting a particular type of business e.g. manufacturing, or a geographical location e.g. Cardiff. It’s specific to you and your CRM should allow you to make the choice.
A CRM will include a calendar and a task list and it is vitally important that you keep these up to date. It’s not enough to look at your system once a month or even once a week. It will become your ‘to do’ bible.
A major advantage of a CRM system is that you can see what your colleagues are doing, so you won’t make the mistake of ringing Client A when you colleague has already called them with the same question. Your CRM will allow you to schedule tasks for your colleagues and they can schedule tasks for you; another reason to consult your CRM regularly.
An important point to remember is that your CRM system is a tool, not the focus of your activity. Properly used it will save you time and mean that you never need to miss out on an opportunity again. It’s possible to spend your whole day filling in unecessary details so work out what is important to you and act accordingly. For example, you probably don’t need to know a potential customer’s full address until you visit them, so don’t waste time filling in these extra details before time. You do need to keep good notes and up to date contact details.
The 3 simple must-do things when using a CRM that will skyrocket your success:-
Keep it up to date! Add new contacts regularly so it doesn’t become a mammoth task.
Keep it open all the time and action your task list.
Make proper notes (not enough to say ‘phoned Fred’)
If you are looking for a simple, easy to use CRM I would recommend Capsule CRM (referral link):-
It’s free for two users for up to 250 contacts and around £8 per user per month once you exceed either limit.
02920 750045 / 07976 359069